Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos was expected to visit India this week amid fears of protest from small business owners. Bezos, who was set to appear at Amazon’s Smbhav event, received a bitter reception after the country’s antitrust body instituted investigations against the company before his arrival. As a result, several infuriated small and medium business owners took to the streets to protest.
Bezos to speak at the Smbhav event
The retail giant holds the Smbhav event annually in New Delhi as a way of helping it connect with small and medium-sized businesses in India. Speaking at the event, Bezos announced that Amazon will invest $1 billion in the country to help small businesses come online. He also gave an assurance that by 2025 the company will be exporting made-in-India goods worth $10 billion.
The visit could also be that Bezos wants to garner goodwill from the Indian government and the rest of the country. This comes after the Competition Commission of India instituted an anticompetitive investigation against the e-retail giant and Indian e-commerce company Flipkart.
According to the commission, Amazon and Flipkart have been making deals with some preferred sellers on their e-platforms. As a result, this has led to foreclosure of those non-preferred sellers from the online platform. The claim indicates that companies can influence pricing, which particularly disadvantages small and medium businesses.
Amazon faces opposition from small traders
Equally, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents over 70 million merchants, is asking the Amazon and other online retailers to adhere to guidelines instituted by the government last year. The government tightened regulations last year to prevent e-retailers from offering huge discounts as well as online-only deals.
India is a major overseas market of Amazon and a key growth, but it is now facing roadblocks that threaten top halts its missions of expanding across India. In a letter to India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal indicated that e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart were economic terrorists engaging in predatory pricing.